CGA Belgrade

CGA: The First Regional Conference on Computer Graphics and Digital Arts

Computer Graphics and Arts Conference (CGA Belgrade) is an international gathering of like-minded professionals who share a love for digital art, visual innovations, and technology.

The very idea of launching the conference was born right here in Crater, thanks to Miljana Jovović (the longtime director of our center and producer at Crater Studio) and Milica Božanić (executive manager of the Serbia Film Association). When Miloš Milošević (former editor of VFX Serbia) joined the team, things started heating up.

Today, CGA is the event of the year for the local artistic community. Over time, the initiative has started growing through various program tracks, accompanying events, and guest appearances, many organized by our team members.

Continue below to read what this experience looks like from our point of view.


The inception of the conference

The initial events at Crater kicked off as soon as we started school in 2012. First, there were the Open Door Days, thanks to which we realized that people were highly interested in professional gatherings. Our first two-day event that combined lectures and workshops brought around 100 artists, and this experience only confirmed that the local audience was hungry for such programs. In 2015, the Open Door Days turned into Meetups at Crater, and they eventually graduated into a conference.

The adventure called CGA Belgrade officially started in 2017 when the conference’s first edition was held in the Museum of Science and Technology in Belgrade. For us, this was a logical continuation of the events for which Crater was (and remains) famous on the local VFX scene.

“We were stunned at how well it all went. At the time, we didn’t have any big plans about what we were going to do with it, but the positive reactions, the fact that people were happy to finally have an event where they could hang out and meet other artists, is what motivated us to keep pushing”
, Miljana Jovović

2018 / 2019

Next year, CGA moved to the Yugoslav Film Archive (Jugoslovenska Kinoteka), where “our little family gathering” officially became a large-scale event. Here we held the most attended editions of the conference, with up to 700 attendees in one day. Here we also divided the entire experience into two program tracks so that each visitor can attend the most desired session.

“CGA was born out of our love for knowledge-sharing that encompasses not only hard skills, but also inspiring stories and experiences of artists from big-name companies working on top projects. The audience at CGA was eager to hear what it’s like to work in studios around the world or, for example, on Spider-Man, or even success stories from artists who started from scratch,”, says Miljana Jovović

Brand New CGA: 2020 – today

The year 2020 started with our first guest appearance outside the country, in Banja Luka, but then it threw us a challenge since holding a big live event was no longer not possible. We somehow managed to overcome the situation by organizing the very first online conference, which turned out to be an excellent move because it spread our wings to try new formats and design new program tracks with our partners:

CGAcademy – provides educational content to help students and entry-level artists work their way up in the VFX, gaming, animation, and CG industry.

CGAlliance – offers solutions and opportunity perspectives regarding the growing CG industry in Serbia. The track is curated by Serbia Film Commission.

CGArts – rovides a dedicated space for artistic discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Since 2021 and our guest event in Novi Sad, CGA switched to a hybrid format with a part of the content broadcasted on the conference website and the main program held live in front of the audience
We perfected this arrangement by the sixth annual CGA conference. CAG 2022 was preceded by a summer-long program of creating original 3D environments in which we filmed the online conference program. Virtual Environments Lab was held in the summer of 2022 in this school, with 12 young creators and the same number of mentors joining in. Today, we are proud to say that it presents one of our most ambitious initiatives.


The conference side events are usually held at Crater. These are workshops and masterclasses by top artists, such as the one by the acclaimed VFX Supervisor Victor Perez, who shared the well-kept secrets of compositing right here in our classroom. This practice of selfless sharing of knowledge through Crater and CGA has been supported since the very beginning by our partner companies, including 3Lateral, Epic Games, SideFX, Nordeus, Autodesk, Foundry, and others.
In September 2022, just before the kick-off of our sixth annual conference, the first regional Houdini User Group (HUG Belgrade) was held in Crater’s cinema room.
It is also important to note that Crater is the physical home of all the CGA online events since most of the program is streamed from our rooms.


With CGAcademy, we support the new generation of digital artists through the development of software and other relevant skills. The program targets young creators working in the fields of visual effects, game art, animation, interactive media, digital design, and other related fields.
For us, designing such a platform was a logical step, as we have been committed to strengthening the CG ecosystem for many years, either through the popularization of deficient occupations, or by designing study programs, and free training for university teachers, professors, and associates. We are committed to strengthening the talent base in Serbia, and CGAcademy is one way to succeed in this mission. Learn more about CGA’s education initiatives and events HERE.

Rekli su o CGA Belgrade konferenciji

Editor’s Choice

Learn more about the CGA events and activities directly by subscribing to the CGA’s newsletter or jump in our Discord server!


unreal engine 5 train the professionals

Train the Professionals - subsidized course for working 3D artists

Train the Professionals: Unreal Engine Essentials
- subsidized course for working 3D artists

During the winter semester of 2022, we trained 30 professional artists to work in the most popular game engine in the world. Here’s how it all played out.

Unreal Engine Essentials course as part of the Train the Professionals initiative was intended for anybody working in in Visual Arts, has at least two years of working experience (no matter if in 3D modeling, visualization, VFX, Game Art, or any other creative field) and is coming from Serbia or other regional countries.
We started the Train the Professionals initiative with the goal of supporting the ambitions and career development of regional artists by getting them familiar with the Unreal Engine 5 possibilities and its practical use in a production pipeline. In this, we are supported by partners from Unreal Engine Educations and 3Lateral (Epic Games). The goal to teach the wider professional public to the tool’s specificity when it comes to environment design and real-time interaction.

Take your first step in the entertainment industry unlike any other we have seen before with Train the Professionals!

unreal engine 5 train the professionals


Course name: Unreal Engine Essentials
Price: 70 € (its commercial value amounts to 530 euros)

Duration: Eight weeks (60 school classes)

GROUP 1 – October 3 – November 21, 2022, every Monday and Thursday from 7 PM
GROUP 2 – October 5 – November 23, 2022, every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 PM

Deadline for submission of final work: February 23, 2023.

After six weeks of intensive training, attendees are able to:

  • confidently use the Unreal Editor environment,
  • independently create virtual environments using built-in terrain generation tools,
  • apply ready-made solutions for vegetation or design their own with emphasis on optimization,
  • successfully design a production line for manipulating 3D content created in specialized software (Autodesk Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D) and their application in the engine,
  • understand and apply to develop their materials directly from the engine,
  • learn recommended practices for lighting scenes in real-time,
  • design basic interactions using the Blueprint system,
  • master the creation of animated camera sequences,
  • use the built-in interface design module,
  • add camera effects,
  • get to know the Niagara particle system,
  • use Quixel and Marketplace content,
  • successfully publish a virtual experience.

After the official part of the training, the students will be able to attend specialized lectures by the industry experts who will introduce you to the work processes in their studios. Among the companies eager to join us in this segment are Ebb Software, Mad Head Games, Case 3D, Mag Achi, Wonder Dynamics and Open Studio.


Apply if:
  • you are a working artist specializing in any field of visual arts;
  • have a minimum of 2 years of working experience (regardless of the current employment status);
  • have a comprehensive level of Serbian language;
  • skilled in any of the industry-standard 3D modeling software (Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, or Blender);
  • are highly motivated to learn.

The number of applicants is limited, and candidate selection will be based on technical expertise, the quality level of your portfolio projects, and the motivation you exert through your application. Up to three spots are available for recent graduates looking for professional experience, able to impress us with their work.

The application is open until August 31, 2022;
at midnight (UTC +2)

Apply here!

The Many Faces of Unreal Engine 5

Unreal Engine 5 is being used more and more for the development of linear and interactive content in real-time for films, video games, or VR/AR applications. It is becoming accessible in architectural visualization and advertising, and even more in film studios and virtual production on TV.
With one of the most recent projects, The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience, the limits of traditional formats has successfully been surpassed, all thanks to Unreal Engine. With many more ambitious projects emerging, it’s safe to say that Unreal Engine gives a greater range of possibilities to creative teams. This comes as no surprise considering that it literally expands the space in real-time, all while simplifying the production pipeline and enabling higher control of the creative process.
Aside from this, Unreal Engine has found its role in the world of the automobile industry, specializing in driving simulations and new car model testing. Due to its ability to create realistic simulations, it is being used more and more in science, as seen in the project of “resurrecting” a prehistoric man from Lepenski Vir, which the Serbian delegation presented last year at Dubai Expo.

matrix awakening: the unreal engine 5 experience

Why Learn the Art of Unreal at Crater Training Center?

At the start of 2021, the leader in the field of interactive and 3D engine technology, Epic Games awarded Crater Training Center with the Epic MegaGrant for the project dedicated to educating professors from numerous schools in Serbia. From this stemmed the original Train the Trainers initiative during which we trained 45 university professors to work in the Unreal Engine.
Later that same year, we participated in the European education project in this engine called Summer of Unreal, shoulder to shoulder with the leading European schools for animation and digital graphics. These are Escape Studios, ArtFX, The Animation Workshop, Screen Skills Ireland, La Salle Barcelona, and Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart.
Our educational program Technical Art in Unreal Engine, completed with this course, has been accredited by the Agency for qualification by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia.

About the Lecturer

Milan Ličina

Visual artist and a docent at the Metropolitan University in Belgrade, as well as a lecturer on the Unreal Engine Essentials course at Crater.

milan licina, unreal engine 5 predavac

As a specialist for audio-visual technologies in studio Galerija 12, he worked on many local and international projects. Through his work, he connects art, design, and new technologies to create immersive content for TV production and VR, and is prone to using game engines for the development of interactive art installations and virtual set design.


Unreal Engine Essentials - Aftermovie

unreal engine 5 train the professionals

CGAcademy logo with bacground from events

CGAcademy: Shaping the Industry with Education

CGAcademy: Shaping the Industry with Education

CGAcademy provides educational content to help students and entry-level artists work their way up in the VFX, gaming, animation, and CG industry. With CGAcademy sessions, you won’t wander off the right learning path.

With CGAcademy, we support the new generation of digital artists through the development of software and other relevant skills. The program targets young creators working in the fields of visual effects, game art, animation, interactive media, digital design, and other related fields. As one of the founders of the CGA Conference, we launched CGAcademy on the parent platform.

The realization of the CGAcademy for us was a logical step, as we have been committed to strengthening the CG ecosystem for many years, either through the popularization of deficient occupations, or by designing study programs, and free training for university teachers, professors, and associates. We are committed to strengthening the talent base in Serbia, and CGAcademy is one way to succeed in this mission.

In addition to individual sessions, the CGAcademy team also organizes all-day events such as Emerging Talents (May 2021) and Talent Sandbox (April 2022) conferences, as well as an educational streamline within CGA Belgrade: Embracing Metaversity (November 2021) conference.

To keep up to date with CGAcademy content, we recommend that you follow Crater’s YouTube channel.You should also know that the CGA’s official channel hides a variety of related sessions held both online and live in front of a large audience.

Editor’s Choice

Watch the CGAcademy Sessions in Full

The CGAcademy sessions were initially divided into three series, and over time we organized several “stand-alone” episodes. Creative Software Sessions are practical tutorials on industry-leading tools such as Unreal Engine, Autodesk Maya, Zbrush, etc. Know-How Sessions are focused on soft skills that help young people better understand the professional environment and collaborate with others. Finally,there is the Career Paths series, in which we “reveal the secrets” of career paths in the creative industries and explain what positions exist in the market.

CGAcademy Team

Miljana Jovović

After years of working in architecture, Miljana turned to the VFX industry. As an executive producer, she led Crater Studio through many major projects. About a decade ago, she made yet another career jump, this time towards non-formal education in the field of creative industries.
Together with her team, she mapped Crater Training Center as a unique place where future and existing professionals gather on courses, events, mentoring, and internship programs. Over time, Crater has become the place-to-be for artists of all kinds, eager to hone their skills, gain knowledge, and network.
Along with partners from the Serbian Film Association and VFX Serbia, she founded CGA Belgrade, the first international conference dedicated to computer graphics in the region.

Marija Rakić-Lovrić
Education & Events Specialist

Marija is an ethnomusicologist with vast experience in teaching juniors and high schoolers, as well as in international schools.
She has organized and launched numerous workshops and festivals for children related to music, art, culture, and education (GroArt Fest, Culture for Beginners, European Heritage Days), as well as the Music Archeology in Serbia project. She is a member of the Serbian Ethnomusicological Society and an associate of the Jeunesses Musicales Belgrade.
At Crater Training Center, she coordinates classes, organizes events, and actively cooperates with educational institutions to improve teaching in the field of multimedia technologies and computer graphics.

Bojana Simić
Program Specialist and Industry Relationship Representative

As a specialist in adult education, Bojana acts as a program coordinator at our school. She is the first in line with our industry partners and works closely with their HR teams.
As part of the CGAcademy, she launched Portfolio Review sessions in which artists from leading creative studios review the participants’ portfolios while providing expert advice.
So far, she has coordinated projects in the entertainment industry and education (including Summer of Unreal and Train the Trainers, to name a few).

CGAcademy Partners

As a link between industry and academic institutions, Crater Training Center collaborates with industry leaders such as 3Lateral (Epic Games), Nordeus, Mad Head Games, Ubisoft, Playstudios Europe, and other creative studios. The realization of the CGAcademy program is also supported by local universities with curriculum aimed at creative industries. Most of our partners play significant roles in our sessions.

CGAcademy Testimonials

Summer of Unreal

Summer of Unreal: Educational program for European animators

Summer of Unreal is a free, four-week boot camp held in the summer of 2021. It was organized by Escape Studios in collaboration with Epic Games and leading European schools for computer graphics, including our own.

During the program, almost 1000 students acquired skills that will help them create quality interactive content in real-time. Starting with the fundamentals, students discovered various enthralling lessons, like stylizing photorealistic objects and digital humans.

Seven industry-leading European animations and VFX schools took part in the program. These include Escape Studios (UK), The Animation Workshop (Denmark), ARTFX (France), LaSalle Barcelona (Spain), Screen Skills Ireland (Ireland), HdM Stuttgart (Germany), as well as our training center. As a southeast European partner, Crater Training Center has provided support for well over 200 knowledge-hungry applicants from many countries.

Summer of Unreal welcomed industry professionals and future animators, VFX and motion graphics artists, film and TV creators too, as well as educators from the aforementioned fields. Rookies in Unreal were also invited to apply, but basic knowledge in 3D software, graphics, or animation was required.

  • The course was focused on the use of Unreal Engine across areas such as pre-visualization, layout, rigging, animation, modeling, lighting, importing characters into Unreal Engine, and rendering.
  • The class was held by experts every workday in all the key aspects of Unreal Engine.
  • During the boot camp, students were provided with online support from the assistants (a.k.a. representatives from each of the seven participating schools).
  • Internal project communication was held entirely on Discord as an excellent tool for networking.
  • Lectures were held by creative professionals with extensive experience in virtual production and UE.
  • Participants from across Europe worked together to come up with solutions for creative challenges during the course.
  • All current trends and new developments were coming directly from Epic Games.
  • Industry experts held several panel discussions to discuss how Unreal Engine is changing media production.
  • Participants learned to make Unreal Engine work for their workflow.
  • Participants were able to collect digital badges for each day. Upon completing 80% of classes, students would gain a certificate of attendance from Escape Studios, signed by Epic Games.

Summer of Unreal targeted industry professionals with at least two years of experience working in an animation studio or on animation projects in any role as an artist (Rigging, Layout, Pre-visualisation, Concept Art, Animation, Lighting, and Rendering). The course was also open for professionals in the film or TV industry, university professors, but not students.

The training delved into the wider animation production industry. The course was also useful for VFX and motion graphics artists, as well as producers and directors eager to understand how Unreal Engine could fit into their workflows.

Originally developed for the games industry, Unreal Engine has been increasingly used in VFX due to the level of detail it can capture and create, including projects like Game of Thrones or The Mandalorian. Next in line is animation, as the engine provides multiple opportunities for real-time production.

Unreal Engine is the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool. It has changed the way games have been made for years but recently has become a powerful tool for Animation and VFX creators with its ability to run photoreal and complex 3D scenes in real-time. It has opened up incredible new opportunities for the animation and 3D CGI industries.

It gives creators the freedom and control to deliver cutting-edge entertainment, compelling visualizations, and even immersive virtual worlds. Demand for real-time 3D skills is at an all-time high, and for many, learning Unreal Engine can broaden their career scope and open up their career potential for work on exciting new projects.

Summer of Unreal Timetable

Week 1

  • Introduction to Unreal Engine
  • Materials
  • Lighting
  • Partner showcase

Week 2

  • Functional lighting
  • Animation in Unreal Engine
  • Partner showcase

Week 3

  • Creating photoreal sequences with Megascan and other software
  • Rendering in Unreal Engine
  • Motion graphics in Sequencer
  • Partner showcase

Week 4

  • Technical information and diagnostics
  • Using Niagara
  • Partner showcase
  • Project delivery and showcase

The course was taught in English through Zoom and Discord for four weeks, split into days of experimentation and practice. It offered a breathable curriculum which meant there was room for participants to keep up to date with their work and leisure. The course featured daily workshops covering all the major aspects of using Unreal Engine interspersed with practice time, teamwork, as well as demonstrations and masterclasses from some of Europe’s premier companies and artists.

Students were divided into smaller groups, and each of them presented their original project at the end, during an honorary Zoom gala.

The demand for talent who wield Unreal Engine has been growing rapidly, which further enhances the need for industry professionals to keep their skillset strong by taking up courses like Summer of Unreal. This course helped participants begin their journey into the world of animation and virtual production with Unreal Engine by their side, as it also enabled them to implement their newly acquired knowledge into their work pipeline. In addition to this, Summer of Unreal introduced its participants to a vast network of like-minded creatives from all around Europe, whose paths would have never crossed otherwise.

We are incredibly proud of the community that gathered up around this initiative, and we hope to see the fruits of their collaborative labor in the future.

Lectures during the Summer of Unreal boot camp were held by Escape Studio’s college lecturers, as well as their colleagues from Framestore and Blue Zoo Animations. Among them were Simon Fenton, Kevin Nally, Christian Avigni, Michael Davies, Clement Gharini, and others. Aside from them, guest speakers were lecturers and coworkers from partnering schools.

Crater Training Center joined Summer of Unreal by hosting three guest lectures. Darko Subotin, professor at the Faculty of Contemporary Arts in Belgrade, has used this opportunity to hold a one-day training in rendering. The team representing 3Lateral/ EpicGames provided the participants with a “private” premiere of an Epic tutorial on MetaHuman Creator. Belgrade-based director Sava Živković held a captivating lecture which shifted the focus on the possibilities and benefits that Unreal Engine provides to animators.